Voices Across America

Chronic Illness: Dying or Finding Your Purpose


State: Illinois
Congressional District: IL06


Chronic Pain, Gastrointestinal Disease, Immune Disease, Neurological Disease, Skin Disease

Issues and Challenges

Catalina has encountered: Access to Expert Providers, Access to Medicine, Copay Issues, Insurance Issues, Surprise Billing, Disability

My Story

TW: suicide

My name is Cathy Gabriel , I was diagnosed 15 years ago.

I was tuning 21 and just had my first baby. I was very hungry to accomplish my dreams when I started having a little discomfort on doing my daily routine. Then all of a sudden I could barely walk.

I was very scared, but being so young I totally couldn't accept it. It led to arguing with my husband, and even distracted me from being the best mother I could be. Soon I lost my job, my husband got into drinking, I began having anger and emotional issues. No medicine was working at all and I just kept going downhill.

As years passed I got into alcohol too, and then in 2012 with no hope for improvement I give up tried to take my life on two different occassions. I was severely depressed. My husband asked me to renew our wedding vows because it looked like the end. Two weeks before the ceremony I knew I was pregnant. Well, that was a huge challenge. I wasn't eating well (I ate like a bunny) and most of the doctors believed that I could not carry to term. But I did.

One day I was in bed, depressed, when I was suddenly got inspired to get up and make a change. I found everything natural to treat myself. I got close to my spiritual life we’re I witnessed many many miracles. I ended up going through severe infections, surgerys and almost lost my whole arm. But...I'm here.

I’m 35 years old now, with a 14 year old boy and 9 year old girl, 2 cornea transplants. I still have problems with my left arm, but I'm on my two feet. I'm going forward working on my self esteem and helping others as much I can. I have a purpose - if not, why am I here right? God only knows. Blessings!

My Motivation and Inspiration

My kids , but also I am here to find meaning in all that I have been through.

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